Horst Steinke, Vico’s Ring. Notes on the“Scienza nuova”, its Structure, and the Hermeneutics of Homer’s Works
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Horst Steinke


epistemológica se ve enmarcada por la finalidad práctica (

Scienza nuova


tutes thus a type of circle, a round trip in which the epistemological investiga-

tion sees itself circumscribed by the practical ends)» (Id.,

Las Condiciones y los

Límites de la Racionalidad en la Scienza Nuova. Las Metaformosis de la Razón

, in



13-14, 2001-2002, pp. 127-137, p. 131); A. M. Damiani, without using

the term: «Que la Ciencia Nueva sea una metafísica de la mente significa que

al conocer el mundo civil el hombre se conoce a sí mismo; y que para

conocerse a sí mismo debe mirarse en el espejo de su propria obra (That

Scienza nuova

is a metaphysics of the mind means that in knowing the world of

civilization, man knows himself, and that to know himself, he needs to look

into the mirror of his own creation)» (Id.,

Hermenéutica y Metafísica en la Scienza


, in «CsV


5-6, 1995-1996, pp. 51-65, p. 64). None of these instances of

“circularity”, of course, have anything to do with what is commonly called

“circular reasoning”, where conclusions from premises or assumptions are

used to establish these premises in the first place.


M. Lilla referred to it as «the fatalistic theory of historical


. See Id.,

G. B. Vico: The Making of an Anti-Modern,

Cambridge, Harvard University

Press, 1993, p. 227.


All things considered, this represents the majority view.


G. Mazzotta,

The New Map of the World

, cit., p. 210.


At this point, this is of course merely an unsupported assertion, not un-

like Mazzotta’s view to the contrary

when he speaks of «the haphazard, dis-

jointed arrangement of hybrid fragments making up the body of the

New Sci-




, p. 210). Other readers of

Scienza nuova

, too, have sought to detect

the presence of an overarching compositional principle, although in different

ways from the proposal outlined here; D. Ph. Verene, for example, proposes

an underlying classical rhetorical structure: «invention (chronological table),

disposition (elements, principles, method), exordium (on wisdom), narration

(poetic wisdom), digression (the true Homer), proposition (“course of the na-

tions” paragraph), division (series of threes), confirmation and amplification

(proofs at the end of Book 4), confutation (recourse of the nations), and pero-

ration (conclusion of the work)» (Id.,

Philosophy as Eloquence

, in «Lo Sguardo.

Rivista di filosofia», 17, 2015, 1, pp. 35-49, pp. 44-45, online at <www.




This becomes apparent by comparing it, for example, with L. Pompa’s

Book-by-Book summary that makes no reference to the subjects of law and

governance, unlike the synopsis that follows. See Id.,

Vico: A Study of the “New


”, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1975, pp. 1-6. Another

comparison could be made with Battistini’s overview of the individual Books


Scienza nuova

in Id.,

On the Encyclopedic Structure of the New Science

, cit., pp. 21-